The feasibility of working full-time in Brisbane and attempting to develop a 1200 acre farm on weekends is somewhat obviously difficult but you only realise how difficult when you actually start trying to do it. Recently, through hard experience, I have realised the perennial importantance of planning – keeping the bigger picture in mind at all times as wastage of time and money will be the result if you fail to do so.
With a farm that is in terms of improvements basically a blank canvas, development and progress can be slow and frustrating. To be completely cliched, there are so many tasks that need doing and so little time to do them.
My fundamental belief is that developing a productive, sustainable pastoral enterprise is an incremental process requiring fixation on a larger set of clear goals. What I have found to be absolutely imperitive is that you plan what you are going to do at a micro and a macro level. Every major investment of time and money, without exception, must contribute towards achieving those plans or you really are just fiddling around. The task is too big to be wasteful with time and resources.
That is of course easier said than done – a clear vision of the property (as I want it to be) is difficult to get full resolution on. And that said, I don’t plan on losing the wood through the trees either. I am learning as I go and I enjoy that process and wouldn’t want to rush the journey itself for a second. But, at the end of the day, I also want to see clear, definitive results for my work.
So, a “general” end vision is required. For me, at this early stage, that means identifying the key revenue streams and the key living arrangements and committing to them. I have prepared a Property Management Plan for 2013-2014 which sets out my holistic goal for the property – kind of a mission statement which sets out the vision in one clear statement. This is then broken down further into a focus on particular revenue streams and other plans that are achievable in the timeframe and deliver the end goal.
In a general sense, the key revenue streams are;
1) Forestry Products (Fencing Materials, Timber)
2) Rental Income from The Cottage and The Farmhouse.
3) Cattle (Leasing)
The key living arrangements to be worked on are;
1) Cabin, workshop and sheds at the large dam.
With those as primary goals, many priorities for the coming two years naturally become clear. Firstly, I can’t rent the farmhouse without first completing it so that mammoth building effort, on the cheap, is the first stage. The Farmhouse is in the process of being broken down into manageable chunks and costed.
The farm is leased until the end of 2014 so the second revenue stream is looking after itself. There is already a cell grazing setup with electric fencing across the farm so I do not plan to do anything in this regard over the coming 2 years.
A forestry enterprise is in constant development over this period. At the moment, I am building my knowledge base and equipment. I began by receiving some detailed instruction on cutting strainers, stays and split posts from a local timber cutter in addition to getting my intermediate chainsaw ticket. Products are currently resulting from thinning activities in accordance with a Forestry Management Plan
The property is set out as per the following plan. Red lines are the boundary, white lines are the internal fences and black lines are the roads;